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February 13th, 2011

Stalled in the Senate

By Sen. Paul McKinley

One bill per week.

That’s the average pace of debate in the Iowa Senate after five weeks of session.

As we get ever closer to the halfway point of the 2011 session, the Iowa Senate is becoming known more for what it has not done – than what it has done this session.

After five weeks, the Iowa Senate has debated just five bills.

Two of those bills dealt with the ethical conduct of senators and lobbyists. Another bill dealt with the internal rules of the body. A fourth bill has passed overwhelmingly on numerous occasions in previous sessions and the last bill was a small technical fix to a piece of legislation passed by a previous General Assembly.

Precious little of the people’s business has been accomplished.

This Senate, under Democratic control, has not earned its keep and the people of this state have every reason to be frustrated.

With serious issues facing this state, Iowans expect better from their legislators.

They expect real action to be taken to correct the serious budget shortfalls that must not just be dealt with during this session but in years to come as a result of too much spending.

With our high tax burden and onerous rules and regulatory climate, Iowans will not be pleased to learn that debate in their Senate is becoming a rare occurrence.

With over 100,000 Iowans out of work, many who are not getting all the hours they would want and tens of thousands of high school and college graduates joining the workforce soon, Iowans expect a serious and substantive debate on how to make it easier for more jobs to be created in the private sector.

With our students facing a competitive global marketplace, Iowans expect legislators to make tangible progress in reforming our education system and implementing a renewed agenda that focuses on student achievement and accountability.  Our kids deserve nothing short of our very best.

Yet – they are not getting it from their Iowa Senate.

Dozens of bills offered by Senate Republicans aimed at putting more Iowans to work, lowering taxes, reducing the size and scope of state government and re-establishing our state’s proud educational heritage are languishing in committees all controlled by Senate Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal.

In the weeks since taking office, Governor Branstad has laid out an ambitious, more hopeful and wide-ranging vision for Iowa. His new direction has been embraced by the Iowa House, who have worked diligently to move important legislation. Many of their bills have passed with overwhelming support and in bi-partisan fashion.

Yet it is the Senate which is holding up the progress that Iowans voted for.

Iowans deserve better.  They deserve a Senate that is willing to work as hard as the people they collectively represent.

The people of this state sent a strong message last November.

They said it was time to get serious about the important issues facing our state and Senate Republicans intend to continue to do just that.  We hope, in the coming weeks, we can find bi-partisan support.

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The Iowa Republican

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